Health Screenings and Tests Every Man Should Have
This is the week to wear your denim proudly, dress up with a favorite navy blazer, or pair a blue shirt or skirt with a pop of color, such as red or orange. By wearing blue, you will be sending a message to men and boys in your life that you want them to make their health a priority.
National Men’s Health Week is June 13-19, a time when men can commit to a healthy lifestyle, take advantage of health screenings and learn about ways to return to health if they get sick.
On average, men live five fewer years than women, a gap that’s been shrinking over the years as men take better care of themselves to improve the length and quality of their lives.
Living better begins with prevention, continues with detection and, at some point, probably will require some restoration.
Exercise: Doctors say one of the best ways to live longer and better is exercise. Nearly half of all men don’t get enough exercise through leisure-time activities, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But physical exercise not only can help stave off heart disease and diabetes, it’s also has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and encourage strong bones.
Snuff it out: Quitting smoking is a great way to cut your risk of preventable cause of death, but nearly 19 percent of men still smoked in 2014. By making the decision to quit, you cut your risk of coronary heart disease in half in a year and have the same risk of heart disease as a non-smoker does in 15 years, according to the World Health Organization.
Eat right: Eating a healthy diet is a no-brainer, but many busy men (and women) struggle to keep up what they are eating and make sure they give their body much-needed nutrients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a health tracker that includes the nutritional value of 8,000 foods.
Get some sleep: Lack of sleep can cause or complicate health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, according to the CDC. Getting enough rest can be tough if you have a busy schedule or suffer from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, a breathing problem that interrupts sleep.
Every two years: Get a blood pressure screening. High blood pressure is one of the biggest factors in heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among men, according to the American Heart Association. Find a screening in your area or check your levels at the pharmacy, then follow up with your doctor.
At age 35: Check your cholesterol. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S., and finding out if you are at risk is important. The National Institutes of Health recommend a lipoprotein profile, a blood test that is done after a 9- to 12-hour fast and shows the different types of cholesterol in your blood. If you can’t do that, you can get a simpler test and return for the fasting test if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more or if your “good cholesterol” is less than 40 mg/dL.
At age 45: Check for diabetes. Diabetes contributes to other health problems, such as heart and kidney disease, and can shorten your life. The CDC estimates that 15 percent of men over age 20 have diabetes, a higher rate than women. Knowing if you are beginning to show signs of diabetes can empower you to make lifestyle changes now.
At age 50: Get a prostate exam. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer some time in his life, and the only cancer that claims more men’s lives is lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. But many men catch it early and get treatment, including nearly 3 million survivors who are alive today.
At age 50: Schedule a colonoscopy. The chance of getting colon cancer in your lifetime is about 5 percent, according to the American Cancer Society, but survival rates have increased since screening became more common. If you have average risk factors, you only need a colonoscopy once every 10 years.
At some point in your life, you are going to require medical care. But that doesn’t always mean you have to be in the hospital to recover.
Re-hospitalizations are costing hospitals millions of dollars and impact the quality of life for patients. Visiting Nurse Health System is partnering with Emory Healthcare and working with other local hospitals to help patients with heart failure improve their quality of life and decrease return trips to the hospital.
By providing standardized care, Visiting Nurse is able to help patients stay in their homes by pre-planning the number of visits needed, telemonitoring to remotely support patients and report to physicians, and providing crisis-response nursing rather than send patients back to the hospital.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors. Additionally, because some medications associated with heart failure may cause impotence as an unpleasant side effect, men may be at greater risk if medications are not taken as directed.
Choose your best blue suit, jeans, dress or tie on Friday, June 17, to celebrate Wear BLUE Day and show support for healthy boys and men. Use #ShowUsYourBlue hashtag to show off your colors on social media.